Some Jackson Hole residents are reaching out to a grieving community in El Paso, Texas, following a mass shooting that killed 22 people there last weekend.
“Probably every community in the U.S. feels a sense of hopelessness,” Jackson resident Heather DeVine said. “Other than talking to their local government representatives, it’s also really important to show that you have some compassion and some empathy for communities that are suffering. Whether that’s due to gun violence, or hate crimes or even a natural disaster, it’s important for communities around the world and the country to come together and show solidarity.”
To make that show of empathy and solidarity from Jackson Hole, DeVine is inviting anyone who is interested to come to Powderhorn Park to paint wooden stars that will ultimately be sent, along with letters of support, to the El Paso community. Painting begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The event is a partnership between DeVine’s nonprofit People Spread Love and Stevie Duren’s coaching business, Your Enchanted Life. Duren said she had been looking for an opportunity to bring “Stars of Hope” — a national group that sends hand-painted stars in the wake of tragedies — to Jackson Hole.
After the Aug. 3 massacre at the Texas Walmart that targeted Latinos and left 22 people dead and dozens injured, Duren said she felt a need to step up and respond.
“We’re an amazing community that is full of compassion and is incredibly supportive, and I feel like when a national tragedy happens we have this innate need and desire to help on some level,” Duren said. “If we can create an event or give an opportunity for people to be able to take some action on that desire, to be able to show compassion and show love and give them a vehicle to channel that energy into something that directly does support the community that is grieving, that’s a super powerful thing.”
The star-painting event requests a suggested donation of $10, which will go toward the El Paso Relief Fund as well as covering costs of hosting the event. Started by the New York Says Thank You Foundation, Stars of Hope is a healing arts program.
“Seeing Stars of Hope and the words of encouragement and hope from others helps survivors feel like they are not alone during their recovery,” the national nonprofit states on its website, which says more than 100,000 stars have been sent to 26 countries.